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tv   [untitled]    May 31, 2012 3:00am-3:30am EDT

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washington. joining us this morning from pittsburgh, pennsylvania. thanks so much, jay. >> thanks for having me, it's been a pleasure. >> this holiday week with, we're featuring some of american history tv's weekend programs on c-span three. over the next several hours, we'll focus on the presidency and the civil rights. first, a discussion of the civil right rights of dwight eisenhower,
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truman. then president kennedy. >> sunday on q & a. >> i think the problem with with walter cronkite, people see him only as the evuncular friendly man. but there was another side of him that wanted to be the best, he was obsessed with the ratings. he's probably the fiercest competitor i've ever written about. and i've written about presidents and generals. cronkite's desire to be the best was very pronounced. >> best selling author douglas brinkley on his new biography of long time cbs news averager walter cronkite, sunday on c-span. next, a conference on the presidency and civil rights hosted by the john f. ken dpi presidential library and museum.
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this panel looks at the intern of japanese americans in world war ii. the desegregation of the armed forces. this is an hour and 20 minutes. >> good afternoon, i'm david ferio. it's a pleasure to welcome you this afternoon. this conference is on the presidency and civil rights. as you know the national archive is is charged with preserving archives to the most important documents, the records we safeguard are part of the backbone, important pieces of the story of the american journey. they contain accounts of heroism, tragedy, moments of pride and moments of shame of sacrifices that men and women have made to defend our country, and to extend basic human rights to all of our citizens. this library and 12 others like it around the country contain the records of the presidents
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dating back to 1929, when herbert hoover lived in the white house. they're part of the national archives' vast holdings that tell the story of america. our holdings also include the charters of freedom, the declaration of independence, the constitution, and the bill of rights, which are located in the rotunda of our main building in washington, but we also have 12 billion more pages of documents, not to mention millions of photographs, maps, charts, and billions of electronic records and artifacts that are part of the national archives. you don't have to read and study many of them to realize that the story of america is a story of people struggling to achieve the rights promised in the charters of freedom or protesting because they have been denied those rights. it is of course the constitution and its amendments the presidents have used to underpin
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major actions and upon which the united states supreme court has based so many landmark decisions involving civil and human rights. the list is daunting, and franklin roosevelt outlawed discrimination through the fair employment practices committee. harry truman ordered an end to segregation in the armed forces during the historic election year of 1948. dwight eisenhower sent army troops to central high and little rock so african-american students could enroll. john kennedy put the effort behind the effort to integrate the university of alabama. lyndon johnson pushed congress relentlessly to enact the civil rights act of 1964, and the voting rights act of 1965. this city has played a pivotal role in the struggles as the cradle of our democracy is one of the centrist abolitionist movement and more recently at the heart of the debate over how best to desegregate public
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schools to comply with the historic 1954 supreme court decision in brown versus the topeka board of education. these struggles for civil rights have not always been easy. when they occur, they often revolve around the constitution, the rights that define us as a ee zpr nation have always been secured. the first ten amendments to the constitution are known as the bill of rights. they spell out the personal rights and freedoms that are guaranteed to every american, including freedom of speech, religion, and the press, the right to petition the government, the right to bear arms and the right to due process of law. most of the later amendments sought to explicitly extend rights granted in the constitution itself, to individuals who had been excluded from full participation in our democracy, when the constitution was adopted in 1787. three post civil war amendments abolished slavery, make former slaves u.s. citizens and grant them the right to vote.
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the 19th amendment grants women the right to vote and another grants access to the ballot by 18-year-olds. we may view these founding documents as timeless but the government they envisioned and that we inherited was not inevitable. it required the devotion of citizens like you and me, a national respect for the rule of law, and the wise exercise of power by our elected leaders, who are held accountable by we the people. as i mentioned before, the holdings of the national archives chronicle our nation's efforts to live out the ideals expressed in the charters of freedom. they document president abraham lincoln's war time proclamation that emancipated the slaves to the signing a century later of the civil rights act of 1964 that sought to end legalized segregation. many of our documents are housed throughout the country. in this building, in one of our regional archives in waltham and in 42 libraries and regional
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archives around the country. understanding the stories surrounding the actions by our president helps us give context to martin luther king's observation that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. it bends not on its own, dr. king said, but because each of us in our own way puts our hand on that arc and bend it in the direction of a more just world. i'm proud the kennedy library is hosting today's conference and recognize and thank all of those who have put together this terrific program. i'm not allowed to say this in public especially in the presence of my friends from the fdr library, but this is, having grown up in beverly, massachusetts, this is my favorite presidential library. [ laughter ] [ applause ] >> i cannot think of a better day or a better place to mark presidents' day. i want to personally thank all
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of our speakers, many of whom have travelled far, including one from south africa, to be with us here for these proceedings. and a special welcome to those watching us around the world on c-span. i'm especially pleased to see so many young people and students in the audience today, those of us who lived through the kennedy presidency, now prepared to pass the torch again to a new generation of americans, knowing that the fate of our country and the rights we hold so dear will lie in your hands. and considering our future, i'm reminded of the famous words president kennedy used in his inaugural address, he not only challenged us to ask what we can do for our country, he also observed that his election signified that the torch had been passed, and i quote "to a new generation of americans who are unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed and to which we are committed today at home and nd


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